tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC October 20, 2009 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
decades since nixon and watergate. plus, inches from death, the video of a man crossing the street and what happens next will have you saying, no way! and show us the money, it's carrie prejean versus the miss california pageant and a fight over plastic surgery. all that and more this hour on nbc. good afternoon, everyone. i'm tamron hall live in new york. >> i'm david shuster live in washington. the big picture at this hour, public outrage continues to grow over the bonus money that financial industry executives are receiving despite the fact that many of their firms only survived a year ago because of taxpayer bailout funds. according to "the wall street journal," major u.s. banks and security firms are on pace to pay their employees a record high of $140 billion. workers at 23 top investment banks, hedge funds, can expect to earn even more than they did in 2007. goldman sachs is reported to be putting aside $23 billion for
this year's executive bonuses, the largest figure in corporate history. in addition to record bonus payout, the firms are also spending records amounts of money on lobbyists to fight regulatory reforms, reforms aimed at keeping the firms from once again seeking out the excessive risks that backfired and fueled the meltdown a year ago. here's white house press secretary robert gibbs. >> i think it is -- the actions of many banks in working actively against consumer protections is not what the american people expected or expect out of these institutions. >> and on top of all this, "the washington post" reports that even as the firms were receiving hundreds of billions of dollars in american taxpayer bailout money last year, the companies
boosted the perks and benefits they paid their chief executives by 4%. those perks included personal use of corporate jets, chauffeurs, personal security and country club fees. banks are now even charging fees for not using your credit card. >> wow, president obama is in new york right now. just a few hours until he will attend a democratic national committee fund-raiser. about a third of the 200 people attending are among those -- the same ones the white house has been criticizing over big bonuses and are fighting against new government regulations. joining us now is jim cramer, host of "mad money." jim, thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> in this "new york times" article, it says these firms that received federal bailout money, only a half dozen or fewer is expected to attend, an estimated $91,000 in contribution because they are sensitive to the regulations, the lobbying going on and the
climate here. what do we make of wall street and the obama administration's relationship right now? >> i think that wall street should do more than just not give in order to be able to stay off the radar screen. what wall street should be doing is saying to the president, look, we made a lot of money and we've got to give in, we've made a lot of mistakes. now we favor total transparency. we're not going to fight it anymore. we're going to lower fees until things get better for the rest of the country. we are not going to take these obscene bonuses. we're going to take stock in our own companies and have a longer term view. they've done everything wrong. >> but, cramer, remember the show "fantasy island." i thought we went there. are they really going to say that, are you mr. roarke and i'm tattoo? they're not going to say that. >> no. but it is a business where they can show profits in many different ways and they couldn't be more stupid than they are. what they're asking for is
basically a wholesale revolution in washington where there's going to be a wind facility profits tax eventually on these guy, there will be confiscatory things going on. i see no contrition! >> on that point -- >> has anyone said, i'm sorry? >> a lot of these firms have paid back the money that they owed the government. now they somehow can justify the bonuses because they paid the money back. but it gets the whole issue of shame. do they have any shame? you know some of the ceos and executives at these xaents. how come they don't get it? >> they're very insulated. they truly believe if they paid the government back, there's no other obligation. they also feel like it's the nfl, okay? it's like, listen, we've got to pay these big bonuses because the other guys are going to take them. the difference is is that the nfl is not subsidized by the u.s. government. it really isn't a good analogy.
i don't see a single executive saying, we really screwed up, we're really sorry, what we're going to do is give back a lot of money, we're going to do what's right, take a dollar a year for the next two or three years, give a gigantic amount of money back to the public in order to create jobs. is this really fanciful? i don't think so. the backlash is so horrible that these guys are going to have to contend with taxes and a new regi regime if they're not capable because they're the most hated people in america. >> some of these banks have paid back but many are fighting regulations to make sure what we saw does not happen again. you're asking for apologies and people to work for a dollar while they're lobbying against regulation. >> i think they're being foolish. i worked at goldman sachs. if i were there right now -- i'm a big client of jp morgan and merrill lynch. i would say, guy, listen to me, this is a bad time in america. i know you made a lot of money, that's terrific, roll it back into your company, don't take it
out. show a little contrition. go to washington. say, you know what? we've made mistakes. here's how we want to fix it ourselves before you fix it for us. no, these guys are laying low, in terms of their political profile. but not in terms of -- someone bought a $21 million today in the west side of new york. they're still doing crazy stuff here. >> but it's not just the bonuses. the problem is the underlying risk. the risk is different but they are still buying and selling risk on a massive scale that essentially could put the country back to the very same problems that we had a year ago. >> there we need a government. look, if we have them disclosed what they really do and the government says, listen, you can't borrow more than this amount and you've disclosed it, then we are going to come down on your head. but we don't have either. we don't have a government looking to see whether someone's taking down too much risk, nor do we have the demands that even the great ceo of goldman has
said, which is true transparency. we don't know what's going on at these banks. until we do, the government can't regulate them. but these places are so powerful, they keep winning in washington. i don't want my friends to be scrutinized like that. i don't want vladimir lennon, i want john lennon. >> i think it's more than just greed, though, jim. it's more than their own narcissism. the system stinks. the idea that we're somehow still encouraging these firms through this money to take even more risk and to compete against each other to buy and sell risk in greater and greater amount, we're right back to where we were a year ago -- >> get a super regulate tor in and transparency and this stuff goes away. but we refuse to take on the interest in this country. >> thank you so much, jim. be sure to catch "mad money" at 6:00 p.m. no caffeine or coffee
needed. david, at any of these fund-raisers since we have these wall street people present, some of them obviously would explain their backgrounds, if the president will say anything about that. >> the white house could do itself a lot of favors by opening the fund-raisers, making sure sure cameras are allowed in, allow reporters to interview people at these tables. "the new york times" said these people are the ones who are full of themselves and shaming their entire industry, they're not going tonight. but the few who are won't sit down for interviews. so let's use it as an opportunity to say what do you expect to get out of the money you're giving to the obama administration? the issue that has been the most divisive in the debate over health care reform, the public option, there's more about that today. now the majority of americans according to the latest polling say they support the public option. a new "washington post" poll out last night found that 57% of
americans support a government-run health care plan to compete with the private insurers. 40% oppose it. tensions continue to be high between harry reid and chuck schumer as the senate tries to merge two health care bills into one. political reports of an incident at a strategy session last week when someone notice that had schumer was not there. where's chuck, the person asked? he's probably out there talking about me, reid quipped. this came after schumer appeared on msnbc's "the rachel maddow show" last week calling on reid to accept a public option proposal. senator reid then responded at a press conference. >> reid has the option of putting it in the final bill. if he puts it in the final bill, in the combined bill, then you would need 60 votes to remove it. and there clearly are not 60 votes against the public option. and so we're urging him to do that.
>> he would rather say anything so it wasn't up to him. okay. >> nbc's kelly o'donnell joins us live from capitol hill. kelly, any indication that schumer and reid have patched up what looked to be some tensions there? and also, i guess their developments involving senator burris from limplt who says he won't support it unless it has the public option? >> reporter: what we hear from aides is that things have settled down between senator schumer and senator reid. these are tough negotiations. chuck schumer is part of the democrat's leadership team. they work very closely together and they are both people who appear before cameras quite frequently and both have senses of humor. so when there's underlying tension, sometimes it comes out with an offhand comment or a quip. and we do see that there are also different responsibilities. harry reid is the one who has to bring this bill to the floor, and he is trying to count the
votes to have a successful outcome. chuck schumer has positioned himself as someone who is one of the big voices in favor of a public option. he took a big stand at the finance committee hearings that we saw a week or so ago. he's been out front publicly trying to win support for that in the face of what doesn't look to be favorable math. you mentioned roland burris. we haven't talked about him for a while. he, of course, is the senator who succeeded president obama and he came to congress with a bit of controversy because he was appointed by the illinois governor who was in so much trouble. well, he is perhaps getting in trouble with the same leadership that was a bit resistant to have him in place here to begin with. roland burris will not run for election next year. he will not try to win the seat himself. and he says unless there's a public option, he will not vote for a health care reform bill. that gets us into the math problem because harry reid needs democrats to all be on the same page to get something through.
so roland burris is using the bit of power he has to get out front on that issue. so we've got personalities, we've got big media players here. and we've got very serious negotiations. when you put all that together, it gives us great stuff to talk about. >> great stuff indeed, kelly o'donnell, thanks as always for the report. coming up, live coverage of president obama's speech to fbi agents here in new york city. the president expected to thank agents for busting alleged terror plot to bomb the city's subways. but first t runoff election in afghanistan. what we can expect from a critical vote that could affect whether thousands of additional u.s. troops are sent into harm's way. you're watching "the big picture" on msnbc.
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breaking news in to msnbc on that amber alert out of florida police briefed the press on the search for somer renee thompson, she's only 7 years old. and she's been missing since yesterday afternoon. police say they've been searching the area and interviewing local registered sex offenders. >> we have some leads that we are concentrating on. however, we do not have a person of interest at all. at this time right now, she is an endangered missing child obviously due to her age, due to the climate conditions last night for a small child like that, it would be very tough for her to be out there. she is definitely endangered and we suspect foul play. >> she was last seen with her brown hair tied in a ponytail
with a red ribbon. she was carrying a "hannah montana" lunchbox and backpacks. terror detainees being held at guantanamo bay cuba, the case involves a challenge from a chinese group known as uighurs. they asked the united states courts to stay out of the case. four of the uighurs have been sent to an island nation. president obama has promised to close gitmo. and now a new television ad has been released urging voters to put more pressure on congress. >> guantanamo prison and the torture committed there, president obama said we should close it. colin powell agrees. but congress stands in the way, continuing to follow the failed bush/cheney policies. tell congress to lift the cloud.
sign the open letter. >> there are going to be more developments involving that campaign tomorrow. we'll bring those to you tomorrow. what about the issue of whether anyone will agree to take these dangerous from prisoners from gitmo once they land on u.s. soil. it turns out a small town in michigan wants the detainees. they voted in support of locking them up at the standish minimum security correctional facility. standish, michigan, wants the prisoners because closing the prison would mean a serious loss of revenue and they have let the federal government know it. in essence, to put it in the words of one local official, stand i, michigan, has looked the white house in the eye and said, your move, mr. president. just ahead, inches from death. >> david, a man's very close call with a speeding bus, just one of the stories that makes us say, no way! to stay in tune with life after 50,
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how you could start saving. there are a lot of things that could be considered news in this world. >> david, there are only a few stories that makes us say, no way! >> have you ever been to perm, russia? >> no. >> well, this may keep you from going. a russian commuter experienced a terrifying brush with death yesterday in the city of perm when he was nearly hit by a bus. the man is rushing across the street when an out-of-control bus slams into a car. the man barely makes it through the intersection before the accident. 19 cars were involved. four people went to the hospital. that man, however, who crossed the road, he did so without a scratch. that was close. >> look both ways. never underestimate the power of pray. a man walked into a cash advance office yesterday to rob the
place when the clerk got on her knees and convinced the robber to pray with him. he did pray and even took the bullet out of the gun. later he asked the clerk to go to the restroom and that's when he stole 20 bucks. well, it worked for a second. 23-year-old gregory smith turned himself in after his mother saw him on tv this morning. i don't know if we're saying that mom's guilt is larger than the guilt of religion or stronger than the guilt of religion. but mom worked in this case. speaking of answering some people's prayers, former miss california carrie prejean is being sued by pageant officials. they want her to return the $5,200. they gave her for breast implants. it follows prejean's own lawsuit which accuses the company of religious discrimination and disclosure of private facts. the suit from pageant officials claims the alleged private facts consist of her breast
augmentation which ceased being private during the swimsuit compensation in the miss usa pageant. lawyers will have a field day with this one. >> yeah, and i think in court documents, the attorneys for the miss california, they actually quoted the bible saying that if prejean had not judged others, then she wouldn't be -- most awful fight between two nonsense organizations. on to more important things, president obama now at the fbi headquarters in new york city. let's listen in. >> thank you, folks. thank you and let me welcome all of you here and wish you a good afternoon. especially to our guest, president barack obama. mr. president, on behalf of everyone here, it is my privilege to welcome you to the new york division of the fbi and on behalf of my colleagues and partners, particularly commissioner kelly, to welcome you to the new york joint terrorism task force.
over the past ten months, we have witnessed firsthand your dedication to keeping the american people safe and safe from terrorism but also safe from crime, both here and abroad. mr. president, we appreciate the enormity of the task before you. we will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard this nation. thank you again for joining us today. ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. [ applause ] >> thank you, everybody, thank you. please, be seated. thank you so much. it is great to be here today. and i am honored to spend some time with men and women who are working so hard around the clock to keep not only this city but also this country safe from terrorism. i want to thank our outstanding fbi director, robert mueller, for that kind and brief
introduction. as i've said before, these are incredibly challenging times for the fbi. and for the last eight years, bob has roshgd tirelessly to prevent additional attacks and keep this nation safe. he's been doing a unbelievable job under very difficult and trying circumstances. and we are grateful to him. i also want to commend police commissioner kelly, assistant director in charge, joe demerest and all the leaders who have helped to put together a team that's for innovativinnovative, collaborative and effective than ever before. here at the joint terrorism task force, we have folks from the fbi working side-by-side with some of new york's finest, as well as countless federal, state and local partners. i was taking a look at the list. and it looks like 45, 46 different agencies represented here. together, your success in
thwarting terrorist attack, the strong intelligence you've gathered and the hard-nosed investigations you've pursued has proved to be a model for law enforcement officials across the country. and for that, you should all be extremely proud. no one knows better than you how important this work is because you've always been on the front lines in fighting extremism. last month, we marked the eighth anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 and on that terrible day when terrorist brought so much death and destruction on our shores and so many lives were lost, many of you were the first on the scenes, saving lives, working tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice and guarding against future attacks in subsequent weeks and months and years. and that effort continues to this day, quietly, dogedly, courageously. most new yorkers, much less most americans, probably don't know this office is here and don't know what you do.
obviously you're not doing it for the glamour or the glory or the pay. you do it to serve and protect your country. and because of the effort and sacrifices that you're making on a daily basis, we are making real progress on our core missions of disrupting and dismantling and ultimately defeating al qaeda and its extremist allies. i said this when i had a chance to speak to some of the nypd leadership team last month over the phone. but i particularly want to express my appreciation and admiration for your terrific work, especially in the recent weeks. working together, you've saved countless lives. and your collaboration earned the gratitude of not just new yorkers but americans everywhere. this level of cooperation and integration is going to be critical in defeating the type of determined and resourceful and oftentimes in the shadows opponents that you're up against
every day. centers like this one help you share intelligence, answer questions and give support instantly and because each organization is on its own, this task force has show how much stronger all of you can be when you're actually working together. you're setting the standard for everybody else, as i said, and showing what focused and integrated counterterrorism work really looks like. the record of your service is written in the attacks that never occur because you thwarted them and because the countless americans who are alive today as a consequence of that work. and so america is in your debt for that. of course, we all know that we're facing a determined adversary. they are resourceful, resilient and are still plotting, as we have become all too aware. no one can ever promise that there won't be another attack on america's soil. but i can promise you this -- i
pledge to do everything in my power as president of the united states to keep the american people safe and that means i pledge to give all of you the tools and the support that you need to get the job done, both here at home and around the world. and i pledge that i will stay as focused on this mission as you are. so we all have to redouble our efforts in the face of threats that persist. we're going to have to draw strength from the values that we hold dear. we're going to have to keep our eye fixed on the world we seek to build, one that not just -- not only defeats our adversaries but that promotes dignity and opportunity and justice for all who stand with us. to do that, i'm going to need all of you to continue the extraordinary work you do and the collaborations you do. that's how we're going to prevail in this fight. that's how we're going to protect this country that we love. so i know that all of you are extraordinarily busy and i do not want to draw you away from the work that you do.
i just want to let you know that we appreciate it, we acknowledge it, we thank you for it. and i'm going to continue to be standing behind you each and every step of the way. so thank you very much, everybody. [ applause ] >> president obama speaking at a joint terrorism task force in new york city, largely fbi agents but several different agencies represented there. the president said they were a model for how they've been able to integrate their intelligence and resources. the president said they've all been working quietly, doggedly and courageously. he said we're making progress in defeating al qaeda and its allies. several events over the last couple of weeks as the obama administration has been trying to decide what to do about afghanistan, al qaeda's not just in afghanistan, which a lot of people have taken to believe that maybe this is their way of essentially laying the groundwork for a decision not to add more troops, to make the argument that fighting al qaeda is not dependent on just
fighting them in afghanistan. but it's a busy night for president obama in new york. let's bring in msnbc's chief washington correspondent, nora o'donnell. do i have that about right in terms of the politics? >> he's there in new york and he's saying thank you for busting this new york city terror threat. and then the president is going to spend the entire evening at democratic fund-raisers where he is helping to raise money for his party but at the same time, he's facing some criticism that while his advisers are slapping the wrists of these financial companies up there, the president is going out with his hand out asking for money. >> in other words, the opportunity both to make part of his case about al qaeda that we have to fight them in many places and thank you to all the fbi and everybody who's helping us. but at the same time, it makes the trip look a little, i don't know, less smelly, if he's doing an official event with the fbi before he's essentially raising money? >> right. and the white house would say, we can go to new york anytime we want to do anything. we don't have to couple up the
events. it's not to cut the costs for a democratic fund-raiser. but about a third of the people at the fund-raisers tonight will be from the very financial community that this white house is saying, stop spending tons of money on lobbyists to block the type of financial reform that needs to be done. what about these billions of dollars in bonuses that are being handed out from places like goldman and jp morgan that got bailout money but have paid the bailout money back? does it look unseemly? it's something the white house is unhappy about. but they say, we're not being influenced by the financial industry. we have to raise money for the party. and it's been reported that at this time in obama's presidency, he's done 22 fund-raisers. george w. bush had done six fund-raisers in that same time. here's another interesting fact. bush in that time raised $49 million. obama's raised only about $29 million.
he's going to have to do a lot more of these events. >> nora, thanks as always. it will be a fascinating night and tamron and i will have more on the other side of this break about the politics the obama administration is dealing with and the entire issue of afghanistan. what are they doing to do? there are developments there. we'll be right back. [ female ] the deeper you clean, the cleaner you feel. olay deep cleansers go beyond what the eye can see. they remove 2 times more dirt and make-up than basic cleansing. for a deep clean feeling, deep cleansers from olay.
the largest decline since april. and oil prices, worst than expected. less than 1%. the move is enough to bring the price of oil below the $80 a barrel mark. that's your cnbc news now. back to msnbc. there have been some developments today in afghanistan that could, could further delay president obama's decision on sending more american troops to the region. >> afghan president hamid karzai agreed to a runoff election november 7th against challenger abdullah abdullah after an election commission throughout as many as one third or a million vote that is karzai received. today at the white house, president obama had high praise for karzai's decision. >> president karzai as well as the other candidates, i think,
have shown that they have the interests of the afghan people at heart. we have seen the candidates expressing a willingness to abide by constitutional law, and there is a path forward in order to complete this election process. >> however, in a dramatic departure from what white house have been saying, defense secretary robertgates told reporters the u.s. cannot wait for another election result before deciding on troop levels and the new strategy in afghanistan. the director of editorial development for "newsweek" joins us. will it really matter? will the election be legitimate and will it make a difference? >> it's certainly not going to be a silver bullet. i think it has to happen at this point. if we stuck with the original result, there would be no legitimacy whosoever for the government. but having it isn't going to bestow legitimacy upon who the
winner in. >> and no guarantee there won't be corruption again? >> right. it's going to be harder for people to get to the polls because of weather changes. >> i want to ask you about something that happened earlier. steny hoyer responded angrily to those who say the president is endangering u.s. troops and ' imbolding the enemy -- >> if we wait, are there any real indications that the taliban is growing stronger? we had them on their heels a few years ago. does it matter how soon we get troops on the ground? >> in terms of obama's decision, i think this is a bit of a false controversy here. it's much more important to think this through, get the
strategy right, we're going to have to be making sacrifices. thousands of troops are going to have to make sacrifices. you want to get it right first. it takes months to get these troops on the ground. >> we were talking at the commercial break, they have a 7% literacy rate in afghanistan. you have people that may become soldiers, trained by our men and women who can't even read stop signs. >> right. whatever we do, it's going to be critical to build up a national army. but just saying we'll send more trainers and magically create thousands of more troop, it's not going to happen. it's poor, illiterate recruits. sending them to parts of the country where they're not familiar with, they're not going to be effective fighting for us. >> and whatever the outcome of the election, do we truly have the support of the afghan government at this time? >> we have a very tense relationship with the afghan government. i think even more important than our relationship with it is the relationship of the afghan people to their own government.
and right now, that is broken. people do not trust the central government. they think of it as corrupt, abusive and just having another runoff election is not going to fix that immediately. >> thank you very much. it's always a pleasure to get your insight on that. our face-off on the gop. >> just 20% of americans now identify themselves as republicans. that is one of the lowest figures in decades. what does it all mean for the future of the republican party? what would you say if i told you that drivers... who switched from geico to allstate... saved an average of $473 a year? no way! way. ♪
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in today's face-off, how far as the republican party fallen and why? >> if a new poll from "the washington post" and abc news is any indication, the gop is in the worst shape it's been in nearly three decades. asked which party they identify themselves with, 33% said democratic while just 20% said republican. perhaps more telling, 42% said independent. what does it all mean? have centrists been frightened away by the right wing birther and town hall screamers. here to face-off is peter and david. david, lindsey graham said the republican party would pay a price for its association with the fringe. doesn't this poll back up that case, given that so few moderates, centrists want to be associated right now with the gop? >> first off, i have to challenge the 20%.
last election, republicans were at 33%. if we were at 20%, that would mean we would have no chance in the upcoming gubernatorial races in new jersey and virginia. we're leading in one. one of the things the democrats have done is paint the republican party as the party of no. and the challenge of the republican party is this transition. we have to stop being the party of the opposition and the party of alternatives. that's going to be the challenge to the republican party. if we don't get there, we risk having low numbers as you were describing. although again, i would say that's significantly higher than 20%. >> peter, isn't there a cautionary tale for democrats in that with only 33% identifying as democrat, a lot of democrats acknowledge the democratic party would be in a lot of trouble if republicans had their act together right now? >> that's true. but i think the only people painting themselves into the corner are the republicans themselves. the poll shows that the public is not buying the brand. i think the republican brand is
weakened by people like sarah palin and joe wilson and they're not buying the product, the ideas, whether it's health care, whether it's the environment, whether it's education reform, whether it's job creation. the public -- david may argue it's not fair. but they don't view the republican party as the party with those answers. until they lay out a platform -- i do agree with lindsey graham that the party does run the risk of running out moderates. they do it already. they're doing it with olympia snowe on health care reform. look at what the leadership, the republican party is threatening to do with her. take away a chairmanship or a subcommittee in one of the committees. it's an identify crisis and unfortunately being hashed out in the public eye. >> what about that point about moderates not seeing a possible home, whether it's olympia snowe or republicans not speaking out about things people find crazy, such as people showing up to town halls with guns?
>> but i think -- you always see the extremes of both parties being more prominently displayed in terms of television and the media. there's a good, solid chunk of the party that is more centrist. but having said that, peter's point was well taken in the sense that one of the challenges to the party and party leadership and members is what ideas do you have? if you're going to engage people and grow your party, you've got to pull people in through ideas. the problem right now is the obama team is having very difficult time. their health care plan, more people oppose it than support it. yet republicans need to be in a position and say, if that's the case, here's your choice and that's the challenge to the republican party. getting back to peter's point, we're not offering in an effective way. >> the point i would add to that is that you see the obama administration actually pursuing moderates on the baucus bill, on health care, and drawing the ire of the progressive wing of the party. you see the administration trying to strike a balance, trying to at least be bipartisan
in some of the solutions to their problems. they're not as beholden to their base as the other party is to their race. >> peter and david, a quick opportunity to weigh in. president obama's raising money in new york tonight, a very small portion are executives that are there from the firms that got bailout money. the bonus is a huge issue. is there a political problem for the president tonight? >> it's always a challenge when you go to wall street and the story -- the narrative becomes you're raising money from wall street and yet you're calling for financial reforms. is there hypocrisy there? is it uncomfortable? it's a delicate situation to say the least. but i do think the president will not pull punches. he's shown when he's gone to wall street before, he's firmly in favor of these reforms. that's why you have a lot of the financial folks on wall street
holding back in their contributions to the democrats and looking for an alternative maybe in the republicans. >> david, ten seconds. >> the problem he's got is he's there on wall street and still hasn't answered the fundamental question the republicans have been posing, where are the jobs? we haven't seen job creation? we've seen a lot of job loss. now he's at wall street not doing the things i think americans expected of him. >> david and peter, an excellent discussion. we appreciate it. terrific stuff. >> thank you. >> thanks. up next, some things we thought you should know. >> sarah palin makes a date with oprah. she's going to be on "oprah"! and on "hardball," a conservative group says it wants to prevent a dictatorship here in the united states. >> you need to be alert and aware to the reality of how close we are to having our constitutional republic destroyed. >> are these folks patriots or pair noid members of the far-right fringe.
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and some breaking news from capitol hill, congress has just given president barack obama a modest victory in his effort to close the guantanamo bay prison in cuba. a few minutes ago, the senate gave final approval through a budget bill for the homeland security department, an amendment that would essentially permit terrorist suspects held at the gitmo facility to be shipped to the united states to face trial. it largely mirrors what is already permitted under current law. this is a bit of a formality
that was part of the budget for the how old security department. this aspect of it now goes to president obama for his signature. there's still a number of funding issues and others associated with this entire idea of closing gitmo that still hasn't been resolved. we told owe earlier about the city of standish, michigan, which has voted to welcome gitmo detainees to the federal prison that might be closed. that city's one step closer essentially because of the action in the senate today. looks like sarah palin is headed to chicago for the first time ever, the former alaska governor will be a guest on "the oprah winfrey show." this will be palin's first interview to talk about her book. the episode will air monday, november 16th. palin's book is set to be released the following day. what a boost for the book but not that it needs it. we just checked on amazon and right now, her book is number 2. it had be number 1. went down to 3 and now it's back
up to 2. >> oprah, things we like. there's a lot going on today. >> michelle obama will make an appearance on "the jay leno show" this friday. she'll visit him via satellite and participate in the 10 at 10:00 segment. she will answer ten random questions. see if you can catch this embarrassing blunder near the nation's capital. president ronald reagan's name is misspelled on this road sign. the mistake hangs over a roadway leading to the airport named in his honor. the virginia department of transportation says it will not replace the entire sign. instead, ale have an "a" made to replace the "e". >> i wonder how much that mistake cost them? not funny. and a philadelphia student
who sent his flat stanley, that little doll thing, to meet president obama has received an official -- that's flat stanley. he sent the cardboard cutout of flat stanley and a letter to the white house just after president obama was elected. when he send his project off, the boy did not think the president would have time to read it. but he did. earlier this month, stanley, as in flat stanley, arrived back home along with a letter and pictures of the president and the first dog, bo. thanks goodness bo did not eat his homework. because, you know, your dog ate your homework. those are the things we thought you should know. flat stanley, still living on. >> nice story. there are exactly two weeks left until election day and the small number of 2009 contests continue to be a big political headlines. >> let's get to our next topic on politics. mark joins us. what do you have?
>> tomorrow's big event, president obama will be campaigning for new jersey governor jon corzine who faces reejection two weeks from now. also tomorrow, vice president biden will be in poland as part of his swing through central europe. and then finally, the h1n1 virus remains a political story with homeland security secretary janet napolitano and education secretary arne duncan testifying before capitol hill on this subject. >> mark, thanks as always. we appreciate it. make sure to check out firstread every morning. logon to firstread.msnbc.com. >> that does it for us. i'm tamron hall. >> i'm david shuster. up next, "hardball" with chris matthews. a lot of fun coming up. "hardball" starts right now. civil war, let's play "hardball."